Ah, summer. Nix that-- the dead of WINTER here in the Bay Area. We're below the Equator, didn't you know?
But for the sake of conversation, let's say it's summer. And summer means cold noodles, right? Thanks to Yoko, ya'll are equipped with the definitive recipes to making your very own tsuyu. Japanify, holla!
If Yoko and Yamahomo are the diligent master workers of the Japanese kitchen, I am their illegitimate, trouble-making stepchild. I'm about to share with you a real Umamimart treat, via my mama-- dipping broth with sauteed eggplant and onions. Too bad that her daughter is the ultimate LAZYASS and has completely bastardized her awesome recipe. SORRY HIDEKO!
- Two smallish eggplants (preferably Japanese or Chinese-- whatever, the skinny ones)
- Half onion
- Ready made tsuyu (noodle dipping broth-- basically MSG in a bottle. Told ya this is the lazy edition!)
- Udon noodles (if possible, try to make sure that the udon is specifically to be eaten cold. Don't use the frozen kind)
- Ginger (optional)
Slice eggplant, onions and ginger.
Sautee altogether over medium heat. Use a pot cause you'll be pouring liquid into this.
Stirfry until onions and eggplant start turning translucent.
Now, if you were Yoko or my mama, or any other kitchen devotee, you would add tsuyu dashi here. But we're in lazyland here cause it's SO HOT RIGHT NOW and we can't be bothered to really cook, can we? So I pour in... water.
Then, I add ready made tsuyu to taste. Don't hate me mama! [If you added dashi, add soy sauce here].
If you like a really intense tsuyu for dipping, add as much of this MSG-in-a-bottle as you'd like (one cup?). But I kinda like my tsuyu on the lighter side, for low-sodium's sake (since I end up drinking the whole damn bowl), so I try to keep the soup on the lighter side.
While you're doing all this, be boiling water for the udon. Add udon, boil for about 10 minutes (whatever the package says) and drain.
As Yoko mentioned in her post on ice cold somen, put the noodles into an ice bath. But, this is LAZY so feel free to skip that part.
My mama serves the broth warm, so it's a fantastic combination of the cold noodles with warm broth. The earthy flavors of the eggplant and onions that have melded into the soup is so amazing!
Now, in theory, this broth is supposed to be for dipping. As in dipping the udon INTO the eggplant tsuyu. In theory.
Oh, but what the hell, TOO LAZY!
I just put the soup over the udon in a bowl, like a regular ol' hot bowl of noodles. Hideko is gonna murder me. I randomly added some daikon pickles for some crisp and of course, scallions galore. Some shiso too. Duh.
Please take my word for it-- this is a genius tsuyu recipe. So simple and a unique way to prepare eggplant. One of these days, I'll post a tutorial of the real recipe, with Hideko actually making it. Wouldn't that be fun? But until then, you've got me, babe.